A loan of $10,150 helped a member to connect to the solar micro-grid installed in Ololailumtia. With connection to power, Edward will be able to attract more customers to his hotel with reliable lighting, TVs, and phone charging.

Ololailumtia 2 Group's story

Edward has eight children between the ages of three and thirteen and also owns and operates a hotel in Ololailumtia, a rural village almost 100km and a least a three hour drive from Kenya national grid power. The village sits on the edge of the Masai Mara and serves as a commercial hub for both the Masai residents who live in the town and for those in surrounding smaller villages. A weekly market attracts pastoralists from all over the region. Without access to electricity, the village must rely on generators, kerosene, and candles for their energy needs. Edward takes pride in providing his customers with a clean, safe place to stay, but he could provide even better service with access to power.

Edward presently operates a diesel generator to power lights in his customers’ rooms. He only runs the generator for a few hours each evening and asks customers to either pay for generator fuel or use kerosene lanterns if they would like additional light. Customers sometimes complain and shorten their stay because of the lack of power. To provide more light, Edward would need to raise room charges to cover the fuel costs, which would scare away customers. Furthermore, the generator is unreliable and breaks often. To be repaired, it must be taken over three hours to the nearest large town. This takes Edward away from his business for over a day and causes him to lose a lot of income.

The solar micro-grid will provide Edward a constant and reliable power source to use for lighting and other energy services, such as phone charging and small TVs to attract more customers to his hotel. Edward will pre-pay for electricity in small bundles using his mobile phone. The solar system will require very little maintenance and a large battery bank ensures there will be plenty of power even on cloudy days. Edward will spend a lot less money for the micro-grid power than he was on diesel fuel and the frequent generator maintenance trips. He can then reinvest this money in his hotel or use it to pay school fees for his children. Furthermore, the solar system is far better for the environment and Edward’s health than the noisy, polluting diesel generator.

Aside from Edward, three other business owners in the village are also a part of the loan connecting to the grid: Patricia, Isaac, and John. They are all looking forward to having reliable power at an affordable rate which they will also use to grow their businesses. The micro-grid, will thus, spur economic activity in Ololailumtia and provide better and cheaper options for more residents to use energy to improve their lives.

In this group: Edward, Patricia, John, Isaac

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